Sea moss may sound like something slimy you step on while wading in shallow ocean water, so it may come as a surprise to see celebs and health experts posting photos of themselves sipping sea moss smoothies on social media.
It seems like everyone is suddenly clamoring to consume this mysterious superfood, although it’s hardly anything new. Here’s everything you need to know about the trend, including its main health benefits and how to add it to your daily routine.
What Is Sea Moss?
Sea moss is an edible algae you’ll find spread across rocks along the North Atlantic Coast. Though it’s been consumed for thousands of years because of its impressive nutritional content, it first rose to fame during the Irish Potato Famine. As the Irish people scrambled for alternate food sources, many turned to sea moss, which grew plentifully on the rocks off of Ireland’s coast. (You may hear it referred to as “Irish sea moss” because of this history.)
Its nutritional profile lives up to the recent hype, containing 92 trace minerals, 15 essential elements, several vitamins, antioxidants, omega-3s, chlorophyll, and prebiotics, says The Vitamin Shoppe nutritionist Brittany Michels, R.D.N. It also contains laminarin, a beta-glucan fiber linked to antioxidant health benefits.
4 Reasons To Try Sea Moss
Sea moss has been found to have one of the highest nutrient profiles among all seaweeds. Here’s a look at some of its impressive benefits.
1. It supports healthy digestion
The digestive system is responsible for breaking food down into nutrients that your body can absorb and use for energy, growth, and cell repair. If it’s not healthy, your body becomes increasingly vulnerable to disease.
Where sea moss comes in? “It works as a prebiotic, positively influencing the composition of your microbiome and maybe even decreasing the amount of harmful bacteria in it,” says Josh Axe, D.N.M., C.N.S., D.C., founder of Ancient Nutrition and member of The Vitamin Shoppe Wellness Council.
Plus, “because it has a sticky texture, it also helps stool to move through your GI tract more easily,” he adds.
2. It aids thyroid function
Your thyroid, a tiny gland in the lower-front part of your neck, helps regulate several bodily functions, including metabolism, energy production, and even mood.
Read More: Could You Have A Thyroid Issue?
Sea moss contains several nutrients that are essential for proper thyroid function, including iodine, selenium, zinc, and B vitamins, according to Axe. “It’s important to note, however, that both low and high levels of iodine can increase the risk of disease,” he says. “Consuming sea moss specifically for its iodine content is only appropriate if you have low levels.”
3. It gives your immune system a boost
Thanks to its laminarin content, sea moss may have some potent immune health benefits. Laminarin is a polysaccharide composed of beta-glucans and dietary fiber, explains Michels. Among other things, beta-glucans have immune system-stimulating properties.
But it doesn’t end there. “Vitamins A, D, and E, and zinc provide antioxidant properties, while phytosterols, omega-3s, and chlorophyll offer immune benefits,” Michels adds. Magnesium and naturally-occurring sulfur also contribute to these immune benefits.
4. It Helps strengthen hair, skin, and nails
Yep, it’s got beauty benefits to boot. “Sea moss contains both type one and three collagen, making it supportive of hair, skin, and nails,” says Michels.
“It also contains skin-health essentials vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin K, selenium, copper, and zinc,” she adds.
How To Add Sea Moss To Your Daily Routine
While sea moss is undoubtedly nutritious, it should be consumed in reasonable amounts. “Overconsumption—especially in supplement form—can lead to too-high iodine levels, which can cause thyroid issues,” says Axe.
For best results, stick to one or two tablespoons of powdered supplements per day. Or, get your fill in capsule form with a supplement like Atlantic Naturals Sea Moss Superfood Capsules, which provides 1,000 milligrams of organic Irish sea moss per serving.